Greeley Tribune, CO
Roosters with bad attitudes perfect for cockfighting
Story by Mike Peters
June 29, 2003
The life of a rooster involved in cockfighting is brutal, even if he's a winner.
According to John, an area man involved in cockfighting who didn't want his real
name used in a story, most potential fighting cocks are purchased for their
bloodline, or pedigree and family connection to champion fighters.
As he grows, the rooster are fed steroids for muscle development and to create
the right fighting attitude.
The cock's comb -- the red, floppy piece of skin on top of his head -- will be
cut off, because it is the most vulnerable part of the rooster in a fight.
The natural spurs that grow on the back of the rooster's legs are cut off,
leaving a small nub. On this, metal razor-sharp spurs are attached just before
Roosters naturally fight each other, but not to the death. The cocks fight for
dominance in the chicken yard. But usually the fights are over quickly with no
injuries. John said the cockfighters look for a rooster with a "bad attitude."
"You have to work hard if you want to win at cockfighting," John said. "You can
spend more money on your rooster than on your family."
People in cockfighting first find the roosters who are the strongest, the
fastest, the ones who are more alert. You can train them a little, like training
a boxer, but breeding and aggressiveness are most important.
A good fighting cock will be introduced into the fighting arena slowly, to see
how he does. The trainer, who may have invested thousands of dollars in his
rooster, doesn't want it hurt in training, so they will put it in the ring
against nonfighting roosters to test the rooster's mettle.
Before their real fights, the roosters are injected with caffeine, amphetamines,
epinephrine and even strychnine to make them more aggressive and harder to kill.
During the fight, blood-stopping medication is applied to keep the roosters in
the fight longer.
If they lose the fight -- which usually lasts from 30 seconds to two minutes --
the rooster will already be dead, or will be injured so badly that it has to be
destroyed. The winner will have its wounds stitched up, more drugs will be
injected and lives to fight another day.
If police raid a fight or a cockfighting breeder, state law requires that all
roosters to be destroyed on the spot.
"They aren't good for anything but fighting," said animal control officer Gary
Schwartz. "They're so full of drugs, they can't be used for food, and so
aggressive they'll kill any other roosters that come near."
In addition, the state has a strong concern for exotic Newcastle disease, which
can wipe out a flock of chickens in just a few days.
North County Times, CA
A third ranch said to be Newcastle-free
A third commercial egg ranch in Valley Center has been released from strict quarantine, according to the task force on Exotic Newcastle Disease.
Birds on Foster Enterprises ranch on Cole Grade Road tested positive for the disease Feb. 17. In line with task force policy, all 95,000 birds at the ranch were killed soon after the infection was found.
With the release from strict quarantine, the owner of the ranch can start bringing chickens back onto the property, task force spokesman Larry Cooper said Friday.
No one appeared to be on the ranch Friday, and phone calls to the company were not answered.
Under strict quarantine, bird owners are not allowed to bring birds onto or off of their property.
Ramona Egg Enterprises and Fluegge Egg Ranch have also been released from strict quarantine.
The other ranches in San Diego County to be hit with the disease are Ramona Egg Enterprises, the Armstrong Egg ranches on Cole Grade, Lilac and Mac Tan roads in Valley Center, the Fluegge Egg Ranch on Twain Way in Valley Center, and Ward Egg Ranch on Fruitvale Road in Valley Center.
Release from strict quarantine means that the farms have been cleaned up and disinfected, according to Cooper.
All of the farms are still under the federal quarantine that covers all of San Diego County and the rest of Southern California. The other counties included in the quarantine are all of Riverside, Orange, Imperial, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Ventura counties and the southwest corner of Kern County.
The federal quarantine prohibits birds owners from taking their birds out of the quarantine area.
But that may change.
The task force is doing door to door surveys in each of the counties, and if the birds test negative, Cooper said, the task force will start lifting quarantines.
The survey is complete in Imperial and Ventura counties, and no signs of the disease were found there, he said.
Teams of task force epidemiologists and diagnosticians started going door to door in San Diego County two weeks ago, and Cooper said that the survey is "98 percent done."
"They're going to be wrapped up by July 2," he said.
No new infections have been found in San Diego County in 90 days, he said.
Once the surveys are done in all the counties, the task force will decide where it can lift quarantines, Cooper said.
The task force has killed more than 3.5 million birds and spent more than $160 million fighting the disease since it was discovered in a flock of backyard chickens in Compton last October.
Contact staff writer Kathryn Gillick at (760)740-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 28, 2003
Avian disease outbreak slows
It has been nearly a month since the last reported case of exotic Newcastle disease, the fatal avian virus that infected the flocks of 22 poultry ranches in Southern California.
Twelve of those commercial ranches, including ones in Ramona and Valley Center, have been released from infected status and are being cleaned, disinfected and tested. The sites remain under quarantine.
The outbreak was confirmed in chickens in the L.A.-area city of Compton last October and quickly spread to neighboring counties and into Arizona and Nevada.
A state and federal task force ordered 3.2 million birds destroyed in an effort to stop the disease from spreading. Six poultry ranches in Valley Center were infected, as was one in Ramona.
The task force included U.S. Department of Agriculture employees and private veterinarians from across the country and totaled 1,600, but as the spread of exotic Newcastle slowed, many were sent home. The task force now numbers about 750.
Union-Tribune, San Diego, CA
Newcastle outbreak may have ended
June 27, 2003
It has been nearly a month since the last reported case of exotic Newcastle
disease, the fatal avian virus that infected the flocks of 22 poultry ranches in
Twelve of those commercial ranches, including ones in Ramona and Valley Center,
have been released from infected status and are being cleaned, disinfected and
tested. The sites remain under quarantine.
The outbreak was confirmed in chickens in the Los Angeles-area city of Compton
last October and quickly spread to neighboring counties and into Arizona and
A state and federal task force ordered 3.2 million birds destroyed in an effort
to stop the disease from spreading. Six poultry ranches in Valley Center were
infected, as was one in Ramona.
The task force included U.S. Department of Agriculture employees and private
veterinarians from across the country and totaled 1,600, but as the spread of
exotic Newcastle slowed, many were sent home. The task force now numbers about
Calgary Sun, Canada
Bird smuggler fined $2,500
By BILL KAUFMANN, CALGARY SUN
A would-be Calgary smuggler discovered the hard way four birds in the shirt are
worse than four in the bush.
Richard Eugene Colson was fined $2,500 in Swift Current, Sask., provincial court
after pleading guilty to smuggling-related charges when he tried to sneak four
pigeons across the U.S. border into Canada.
When Colson pulled up to the border crossing at Climax, Sask., on Jan 17, Canada
Customs and Revenue officials said they noticed he had difficulty manoeuvring
his car into an inspection bay.
They noticed bulges in the man's clothing and feared he might be concealing
weapons, but what they found was contraband of a different feather -- four live,
undeclared pigeons stashed individually in paper lunch bags under his shirt.
"I'm sure there was some degree of relief among the agents when they discovered
they weren't weapons," said Canada Customs spokeswoman Debbie Johnson, adding
the case was a definite oddity.
"I've never heard of a case of pigeon-smuggling before."
The reason for the awkward driving style?
"He must have had them under his arms to begin with," said Johnson.
Colson, 56, possessed no health certificates for the birds and they were seized
by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
The pigeons were euthanized as a precaution against disease.
"There's a concern about Exotic Newcastle disease among birds which is present
in certain states and because Mr. Colson had no certificates for them, their
origin couldn't be determined," said Johnson.
Colson was transporting the birds from his former hometown of Turner, Mont. to
Calgary, said Johnson.
SAN DIEGO HEADLINES: JUNE 24, 2003
Owens Rain Forest Open Again
The Owens Rain Forest walk-through aviary at the San Diego Zoo is once again
open to the public. The aviary had been closed since December 31 when exotic
Newcastle disease caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to impose a
quarantine in Southern California. Zoo visitors now entering the aviary will
have to step on a mat soaked with a disinfectant solution. According to The San
Diego Union-Tribune, three other aviaries at the zoo and all aviaries at the
Wild Animal Park will continue to remain off-limits.
San Diego Union Tribune, CA
Zoo reopens rain forest aviary
June 24, 2003
The San Diego Zoo reopened its Owens Rain Forest walk-through aviary yesterday.
The aviary had been closed since Dec. 31 when an outbreak of exotic Newcastle
disease caused the U.S. Department of Agriculture to quarantine Southern
California and order the destruction of 3.5 million birds, mostly chickens in
The reopening of the aviary coincides with the start of the zoo's extended
summer hours. The aviary also provides access to the bottom of a canyon through
a series of ramps, allowing people with disabilities, those in wheelchairs or
pushing strollers to reach the panda exhibit.
Zoo visitors using the aviary walkway will have to step on a mat soaked with a
disinfectant solution. Wheelchairs and strollers will have to pass over the
mats, too, zoo spokesman Paul Garcia said.
Three other aviaries at the zoo and all aviaries at the Wild Animal Park will
continue to remain off-limits. The Owens Rain Forest aviary will observe its
regular 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule.
The zoo's new summer hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the main gate, with visitors
permitted to stay on the grounds until 10 p.m.
Riverside Press Enterprise, CA
Authorities say Newcastle goes quiet
POULTRY DISEASE: Task force members will wait to announce final victory, lifting
By MICHAEL FISHER and LESLIE BERKMAN
Authorities are cautiously optimistic that they have purged the bird-killing
exotic Newcastle virus from Southern California, meaning the region's quarantine
zone could be lifted in coming months.
However, State Veterinarian Richard Breitmeyer is hesitant to say the epidemic
is over "because I have too much respect for this virus."
Since the outbreak began last year, nearly 3.5 million commercial fowl and
backyard birds that were either sick or exposed to the highly contagious virus
were destroyed in an effort to stamp out the disease.
But California's last reported outbreak of exotic Newcastle occurred May 31, and
nearly three months have passed since the virus was last found at a commercial
poultry ranch, according to a joint federal and state task force combatting the
Last reported May 7
"We haven't had any finds in a couple of weeks, so we are hoping that we got it
all," task force spokeswoman Maeve McConnell said by telephone.
The virus was last reported in Riverside County on May 7, eight days after it
was last discovered in San Bernardino County, McConnell said.
Norco Ranch, where more than 1 million hens were killed earlier this year to
stop the disease from spreading, has begun repopulating its Inland egg ranches,
its president, Craig Willardson, said by telephone.
The company, Southern California's largest egg marketer, should be back to full
capacity within a few months, he said.
"The industry as a whole stepped up biosecurity and I think you are seeing the
positive results of that effort," Willardson said. He added that he is "very
optimistic about the complete eradication going forward."
Paul Bahan, owner of AAA Egg Farm with 750,000 hens in Lakeview, expressed
relief at hearing the task force's upbeat forecast.
"It sounds really good," he said by telephone. "It means that I got through this
without losing my birds."
Testing for the virus is under way on 400 birds in both Santa Barbara and
Imperial counties as part of a systematic survey for the virus in quarantined
counties, Larry Cooper, also a task force spokesman, said by telephone.
Similar tests should begin in the Inland counties next month, he said.
Breitmeyer said the sampling is sensitive enough to identify even very low
levels of the disease. He said his objective is to stamp out any remaining virus
during the summer.
Summer combats spread
"The summer is our friend," he said, because in warm weather the exotic
Newcastle virus does not live long and cannot spread as easily.
Breitmeyer said he expects that within the next few weeks the federal government
will shrink its quarantine zone to match the smaller state quarantine. He said
if there are no further outbreaks, the remaining quarantine will be lifted in
November or December.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture quarantine envelops Riverside, San
Bernardino, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Four other counties -- Santa
Barbara, Ventura, Imperial and Orange -- were quarantined as a buffer zone for
the disease. There have been no outbreaks in those counties.
Doug Kuney, a poultry farm adviser with the University of California Cooperative
Extension, said the Riverside and San Bernardino quarantine zone would be shrunk
westward from the Colorado River to about Palm Springs.
"We would have to wait six months from the last known presence (of the virus)
before we could declare California as free from exotic Newcastle disease," Kuney
said by telephone.
Exotic Newcastle cannot be transmitted to humans, and is not a threat to public
health. The disease affects virtually all domestic and wild birds. It can be
transmitted through contact between birds as well as through feces, feed, cages,
clothing or other materials and can become airborne across short distances.
The fight against exotic Newcastle has cost about $150 million so far, Cooper
said, with about $20 million of that being paid to commercial ranches and
private owners whose birds were destroyed.
Richard Matteis, executive director of the Pacific Egg & Poultry Association,
representing egg producers, said he has been anxiously counting the days since
late March when the virus was last found at a commercial ranch.
Task force praised
"It is not a time to rest on our laurels but we are happy to be where we are at.
I think we have done a good job of containment. I thought long ago it would be
in Northern California but we have prevented that," Matteis said by phone.
Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation, also praised the
work by state and federal authorities, which prevented the disease from
crippling the $3 billion-per-year poultry meat industry.
"It appears that all the efforts to eradicate the disease and keep it from
moving north have been successful and we're very happy about that," Mattos said
by telephone. His trade association represents virtually all of the state's
poultry meat producers.
Nevada City Union, CA
4-H poultry plight
Disease results in ban on birds at county fair
There will be no poultry exhibits at the Nevada County Fair this year, thanks to
a disease that kills almost every bird it strikes.
Humans cannot be infected by exotic Newcastle disease, fair poultry
superintendent Jackie Mertton said. But birds and their human handlers can
easily spread it to other winged creatures.
The disease is believed to be isolated in Southern California, but intense
precautions are being taken to keep it from spreading north.
To address the disease problem and to keep the 4-H poultry program alive,
organizers of a weekend agricultural festival are bringing in poultry expert Dr.
Francine Bradley, who will give a speech on the disease this Saturday. A faculty
member at the University of California-Davis, she will speak on the disease at
11 a.m. in the Northern Mines Building.
>From 1 to 2:30 p.m., there will be an Avian Bowl, a Jeopardy-like contest for
teams answering questions about birds. The Avian Bowl and Bradley's appearance
are all part of the annual Fun Faire, a trial run for youths to go through the
animal judging process before the county fair in August.
Because poultry will be excluded from this year's county fair, another Avian
Bowl will occur from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 during the fair. The
first-place team will make $500, with second taking in $300.
"We're trying to keep the poultry interest alive until we bring it back,"
Mertton said. The last outbreak of the disease lasted three years.
The outbreak has been tough on Chrissy and Brandon Renwick, who have raised
poultry and traveled to many shows in the past. Now they can only improve their
strain at their ranch outside Grass Valley.
"It's an ugly mess," said Chrissy, 15. "There's no shows. They're on very tight
restrictions. ... We can't have anyone (who has had contact with poultry) over
from Southern California. They could spread it on the bottom of their shoes.
What scares me is the last outbreak lasted three years, and I've only got two
years left (to show poultry).
Brandon, 11, said he's not afraid that his birds will get the disease. He said
his family is not buying any birds that could bring in the illness.
State health officials said the disease is a virus excreted in feces and acts as
an aerosol from birds' respiratory tracts. It can contaminate farm equipment and
tools, water, footwear, clothing and feed.
Precautions to prevent the disease include keeping farm-to-farm traffic at a
minimum and using a disinfectant such as bleach to clean anything that might
have come in contact with the disease.
Centre Daily Times, PA
Farming community feels the effects of terrorist threats
BY JEFF SHIELDS
Knight Ridder Newspapers
PHILADELPHIA - (KRT) - Travis Moser cannot afford to put up a steel fence to
keep terrorists off his 330-acre dairy business in western Montgomery County,
Pa. But he has dogs that bark.
Duane Hershey does not have an alarm system to monitor the perimeter of his farm
in Chester County, Pa. That is what his neighbors are for.
And Phoebe Bitler cannot protect all of her farm in Berks County, Pa., but she
will be watching closely if you decide to walk your dog across her field.
When the nation went back to Orange Alert last month, a special message went out
to farmers in a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reminding them
that the terrorist threat goes far beyond buildings, bridges and airplanes.
"You are on the front line of defense for protecting America's food and
agriculture," begins the list of tips at www.usda.gov/homelandsecurity.
Worried about terrorists trying to cripple the country's economy by attacking
its $200 billion agricultural economy USDA Homeland Security officials are
asking farmers to help.
The USDA warns farmers to watch for suspicious activity around their farms and
feedlots; lock up their chemicals and fertilizers; conduct background checks on
their farmhands; watch for strange diseases in their animals or crops; and cut
back on access to the farms, even for school groups.
"You don't just get out of your car and go walking into the plant," said Bruce
Schmucker, chief of the regulations and compliance division of Pennsylvania's
Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services. "Maybe (farmers) won't have the
Brownie troop over to watch the sheep being shorn."
Though the concept of agricultural terrorism, or "agroterrorism," has become a
buzzword at the USDA and Department of Homeland Security, farmers and industry
officials say their defenses were already raised against what they see as a
greater threat - the accidental introduction of disease that could destroy them.
Since an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Great Britain in early 2001 wiped
out more than 10 million animals, farmers have taken measures to prevent
becoming the ground zero of a similar contagion here. Farmers need only look to
California, where the USDA has slaughtered 3.5 million birds to try to contain
an outbreak of exotic Newcastle disease. Or to Canada, where a whole country is
watching anxiously, hoping that the discovery of bovine spongiform
encephalopathy - the notorious mad cow disease - in a single cow does not
"We've pretty much been encouraging biosecurity measures for years," said Mike
Fournier, the Pennsylvania State Cooperative Extension agent for Bucks County.
Farmers say they do not have the means to completely control their environment.
To anyone driving down into the Mosers' Spring Valley Farm, the point is
evident. The public road is bordered by an aging wood-rail fence that barely
keeps the cows in, let alone humans out. A government official "who was way too
high up to know anything" suggested putting a chain-link fence around the
330-acre farm, Moser said.
"We did find that hilarious," said Moser, 28, who oversees a herd of 300 cows
with his father, Gordon Moser , in a valley between the communities of Congo and
Niantic in western Montgomery County.
For the farming community, the focus is on stopping the spread of disease,
whether it arrives intentionally or accidentally.
"If somebody really wants to come along and do something to those animals, how
are you going to stop it?" Fournier asked. "I don't think you're going to hire a
security system and put someone out to watch the cows."
Before there was an Orange Alert, farmers were putting up "No Trespassing" signs
around their farms; restricting visitors at their barns and feedlots; asking
visitors to don plastic boots or wash their shoes in disinfectant; making sure
they know whom they buy their livestock, feed and supplies from; and planning
what to do and whom to call in case of a variety of disease outbreaks.
"Biosecurity is always on our front burner," Schmucker said.
Agroterrorism has provided a hook for the disaster-preparedness that Schmucker
and others have been engaged in since well before Sept. 11, 2001. Traveling
around the state, they have developed phone lists for people and resources.
The private sector is also preparing itself. The Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association,
based in Philadelphia, has trained farmers in public speaking, hoping the
farmers themselves can go to the news media to explain things and soothe fears
in case of a disease outbreak.
Nancy Halpern, director of the Division of Animal Health for the New Jersey
Department of Agriculture, said the state's many hobby farmers - who keep sheep,
goats and llamas - need a reminder about biosecurity during times of heightened
"Somebody who is doing this for a living and basing their livelihood on it is
practicing biosecurity," she said.
No livestock industry controls its environs more thoroughly than swine
producers, who have gradually tightened their biosecurity practices since
farmers moved hogs inside starting in the late 1970s. Hog farms also strictly
limit access to facilities and provide boots and coveralls to all visitors.
"It really has been fairly easy to just continue our vigilance as we have done
in the past," said Bob Ruth, president of Pleasant Valley Foods, which controls
1 million pigs, most of which will end up at Hatfield Quality Meats in
Montgomery County. "Before it became a buzzword, we have been concerned with
access and vigilance and those kinds of things."
At the meat-processing end, the concern for terrorism directed at the food
supply is somewhat higher. At Hatfield Quality Meats, managers have advised
drivers to follow federal transportation department recommendations to keep
their trucks locked and not to leave them unattended, said Dave Kolesky, vice
president of human resources.
Without being specific, Kolesky said the company has stepped up security and the
checking of vehicles coming to and going from the plant.
The threat of foreign terrorism does not occupy a large place in Duane Hershey's
consciousness. He has 380 milking cows to worry about at his Ar-Joy Farm in
Cochranville, Pa. He has workers practically around the clock. And he knows his
neighbors will call him if they spot a strange car on the road.
"I don't think about that too much," he said. "We're always very aware of what's
At the same time, his livelihood centers on keeping his cows healthy - from
dipping their udders in iodine before and after milking to monitoring their milk
output each day.
New Jersey's Halpern said farmers worry as much about domestic terrorists as
foreign attacks. Hershey agreed, saying extremists in the animal-rights movement
concerned him more than al Qaeda.
For Phoebe Bitler, a Berks County dairy farmer who acts as a speaker for the
Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association, Orange Alert means she is a little more wary.
"We have some land close to housing developments. They walk dogs across our
fields," she said. "Now I look at somebody, and I wonder: What are they doing?"
Stockton Record, CA
Participants crow over 'created' birds
Alternative poultry show goes on after disease forces fair to pluck live exhibit
By Linda Hughes-Kirchubel
Record Staff Writer
Published Friday, June 20, 2003
One cold winter day earlier this year, Betty the bantam chicken became a
casualty of a cold snap and entered that great chicken coop in the sky.
But on Thursday, reincarnated by floral foam and felt, the feather-legged bantam
returned in a blaze of glory. Owned and exhibited by young John Teicheira, a
stuffed version of his late, beloved Betty earned first place in a San Joaquin
Oddly enough, exotic Newcastle disease, the virus that has ravaged the poultry
industry and forced exclusion of live birds at fairs statewide, gave the
11-year-old Manteca boy the opportunity to bring his prized hen back to life and
take home a ribbon as well.
Diagnosed in October in backyard poultry flocks, exotic Newcastle disease is a
serious and often fatal disease that affects most species of birds, according to
the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Without showing signs of
infection, some birds can carry the disease and thus infect other birds.
Though no diseased chickens, roosters or hens have been found in San Joaquin
County, state officials recommended all fair organizers suspend live poultry
exhibits because of exotic Newcastle disease outbreaks in Southern California.
"I felt really mad," said Teicheira, recalling the moment he heard he could not
exhibit a live bird at the fair. "I didn't like it. We aren't able to really
show them like we are supposed to."
Local poultry officials developed alternative exhibits for young participants.
Future Farmers of America and 4-H members brought "created" birds to the fair,
where the stuffed, sewn and stapled replicas withstood the same rigorous
scrutiny any live birds would have had to endure, as did their owners.
Though it takes 28 days for chicks to hatch, bogus Betty came to life within
four days. Using floral foam, a glue gun and several lengths of felt, Teicheira
worked to create Betty's double.
"My dad said (she) looked like a teapot," he said.
Meanwhile, his brother, 10-year-old Aaron, created a replica of the exotic bird
he said he would buy if he could: a single-comb, clean-legged, other-than-game
bantam -- the Cadillac of birds.
He took first place in his competition.
Though the birds weren't real, the tension certainly was. Stage fright
overpowered one child, who retreated in tears briefly from competition as his
mother offered a gentle pep talk.
The poultry exhibit seemed unusually spare and silent to those used to hearing
the screeches and cackles of healthy, active birds.
Under normal circumstances, said barn chairman Justin Guadagnolo, no poultry
exhibit would be as subdued and uncrowded as this year's, set behind the cages
containing lop-eared rabbits and guinea pigs.
"There would be roosters crowing," said Guadagnolo, 16, who lives in Linden.
"There would be hens squawking. You'd feel like you were in the country."
Instead, the exhibited birds made nary a peep. The nearby calls of sheep and
goats were disguised by the thuds and grinds of a garbage truck, police sirens
and other urban sounds.
A normal poultry exhibit would find between 150 to 200 birds on display instead
of this year's 15 to 20 imitation birds, Guadagnolo said. Some could have
commanded from $6 to $30 a pound.
But exotic Newcastle disease has scared buyers.
"No one is selling," said Guadagnolo, who has raised about 150 birds. "I have
all these birds, and no one wants to buy."
Despite all the problems from exotic Newcastle disease, there was never any
thought of canceling the competition, Guadagnolo said.
"We knew that we had to have something here," he said. "There've always been
poultry exhibitions at the fair, and there always will be."
Imperial Valley Press, CA
Newcastle disease task force sampling Imperial County birds
Thursday, June 19, 2003 2:49 PM PDT
Crews with the Exotic Newcastle Disease Task Force of the state Department of Food and Agriculture today will begin sampling Imperial County birds for the disease.
Five two-member teams of diagnosticians will be going door-to-door in areas just east and just west of El Centro, asking residents whether they own birds and if they would agree to have those birds sampled for the disease that has proven deadly to millions of birds across the country.
The process is expected to go into next week with teams visiting parts of Brawley and Calexico.
"We want to let people know that the crews are out there and everything is voluntary," said Larry Cooper of the CDFA in Sacramento.
No birds have tested positive in Imperial County, although the county has been included in the state quarantine.